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Interhousehold variability and its effects on seed circulation networks: a case study from northern Cameroon

Abstract : ABSTRACT We present a detailed ethnographic case study of sorghum seed acquisitions in a smallholder farming society in northern Cameroon. The effects of variability in household demographics and socioeconomic status on observed patterns of seed provisioning are explored alongside other variables such as age and gender. Our data set comprised 223 seed acquisition events. Independence tests (Pearson’s chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests) were carried out to test for significant dependencies between individual- or household-level characteristics and properties of seed acquisition events (categories of seed source, social relationship of exchange, and type of landrace). Results indicate that wealth is a structuring factor of the local seed circulation network in as much as it is highly correlated with household composition and size. Members from wealthy households benefit from a more diverse set of seed sources. Their greater number of coresidents and the importance of intrahousehold dynamics of seed transactions also play a role in making wealthy farmers more seed secure than others. The methodological implications of our findings indicate that when documenting seed exchange networks, the collection of data through a single informant or the undertaking of social network analyses at the household level may induce important biases.
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https://hal-agroparistech.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01568945
Contributor : Armelle Sielinou <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 9:11:28 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 18, 2020 - 2:34:50 PM

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J. Wencelius, M. Thomas, P. Barbillon, E. Garine. Interhousehold variability and its effects on seed circulation networks: a case study from northern Cameroon. Ecology and Society, Resilience Alliance, 2016, 21 (1), ⟨10.5751/ES-08208-210144⟩. ⟨hal-01568945⟩

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